WILMINGTON, Delaware — The elderly Catholic priest who was assaulted and doused in wine inside his church is out of the intensive care unit.
The Catholic Diocese of Wilmington released a statement Wednesday updating Father William Graney’s condition.
New Castle County police have charged 25-year-old Joshua August with assault after a worker at Resurrection Parish said she saw him punch, kick and beat Graney with the wine bottle Monday. He is also accused of spraying compressed air into Graney’s mouth.
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“The Catholic community of the Diocese of Wilmington was shocked and saddened to learn that one of our most beloved pastors, Father Bill Graney, was attacked in the Resurrection parish offices. It is especially disheartening to learn that according to parish staff, the alleged attacker is a troubled homeless man that Father had been trying to assist for quite some time. It is by God’s grace and the clever and decisive actions of the two parish staff members present at the time, that the outcome was not much worse. We are thankful to God that this violent turn of events did not cost Father his life,” said Bishop W. Francis Malooly.
The bishop said he visited Graney in the hospital on Tuesday, and that he was in his “typical good spirits and is grateful for all the prayers and support.”
“From the very beginning of his pontificate, Pope Francis has called us to imitate Jesus and ‘go out to the peripheries’ to help those in need, those who suffer. This is what Father Graney has done throughout his priestly ministry, strive to live out the Gospel. Unfortunately, as this violent act attests; living Christ’s call to love our neighbor as ourselves can sometimes be dangerous business,” Malooly said.
Court documents say August became upset over “weed that he wanted back” and “wanted to kill” Graney.
A member of August’s family previously told The Associated Press they had no comment.
Crux staff contributed to this report.